World beard and competition in town on Nevada Day

Things are starting to get a little hairy. Interest in the World Beard and Moustache Championships -- coming to Carson City on Nov. 1 as part of Nevada Day --Ehas grown in the last few weeks.

"It has just exploded," said event organizer Phil Olsen. More than 120 competitors are registered from 11 countries, he said.

A hit counter on the event's Web site has gone from about 100 hits a day to as many as 14,000 hits in eight hours.

"It's incredible," Olsen said. "I'm wondering if there's a malfunction or a virus that makes your hit counter go up."

The World Beard and Moustache Championship is held every two years. This year's event in Carson will be the first time the competition has ever been held in the United States.

The event is drawing attention around the globe. Olsen made hotel reservations for a team from Norway recently and secured a visa for a competitor from the Ukraine with the help of Congressman Jim Gibbons' office.

"I'm hoping he can do the same for the team from Turkey," said Olsen Friday over lunch at Java Joe's.

A freelance photographer working in conjunction with Swedish Television was circling him as he ate salad, getting footage for a documentary.

"We're doing some preparation for the film," said the Stockholm photographer, Tobias Nilsson. "We're just watching Phil network."

From the coffee shop they headed to Mayor Ray Masayko's office.

Masyako has confirmed he will act as a judge for the competition, held in the evening after the Nevada Parade. Other confirmed judges include Deborah Agosti, the Chief Justice of the Nevada Supreme Court, top U.S. downhill skier Daron Rahlves and McAvoy Layne doing his Mark Twain impersonation.

The competitors, some sporting beards extending 15 inches to either side, will walk in the Nevada Day parade carrying their national flags. They will also compete in the annual beard competition held on the capital steps.

"It'd be funny if Germany beat out Virginia City," chuckled Olsen, referring to the "most bearded community" part of the Nevada Day competition.

The World Championship competition will be held at the Community Center. Doors will open at 2 p.m. and a preliminary round will start at 3 p.m. During a break a Bavarian-style oompa band will perform and bratwurst, and beer will be served. The finals will start at 7 p.m.

There will be several categories for competitors, including full beard, natural mustache, Fu Manchu, Wild West and freestyle.

Olsen is putting together a program for the competition listing former champions and leaving room for notes on this year's event. Anyone interested in buying ad space in the program should call Olsen at (530) 581-3940.

So far the team with the most registered competitors is coming from Germany, where beard and mustache clubs are popular. They are relatively unheard of in the U.S., Olsen said.

"It's is new to this country," he said. "We're hoping for a strong turnout of Americans to compete against the dominant German team."

Foreign competitors who bought a tour package will stay at the Pinion Plaza. they'll visit Virginia City for Halloween and take a stern wheeler trip on Lake Tahoe on Sunday.

On The Net

For more Information on the World Championship Beard and Moustache Championship coming to Carson City on Nevada Day or see a photo gallery of contestants, go to the event Web site at:


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